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By Nazarul Islam, Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, USA, TIO: Ever since I came to live in America, this has been a highly partisan country, with Republicans and Democrats splitting political support. But with Trump’s arrival, the previously healthy partisanship has turned into noxious polarization.
This has not only meant that the pro-Trump and anti-Trump lobbies are always at daggers drawn, but that they also inhabit entirely different public spheres. It appears as though for the common Republican, the common Democrat has become pure anathema and vice versa.
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The toxicity between opposite ends of the political spectrum has been exacerbated by the media, where propaganda has been at an all-time high during Trump’s tenure. The likes of Fox News and CNN have not only come to represent mutually unsustainable worldviews, but they have also reduced the complexities of democracy into a monolithic debate on its most potent mascot—in this case, Trump.
A cursory glance across the op-ed section of The New York publication immediately illustrates the disproportionate focus engendered by Trump. While it is undoubtedly crucial to highlight Trump’s long list of lacunae, it is equally vital to document the institutional inertia (from the Senate to the Supreme Court) accelerating the democratic disintegration of America, for which Trump is just one of several factors.
Herein lies the third warning from the Trump presidency—an excessive emphasis on a divisive, populist leader produces reductionist reportage that does not do justice to the complicated contours of a dysfunctional democracy.
Do we still doubt that Trump’s presidency has shattered the illusion that trust, once built into the fabric of a democracy, endures forever? With his reluctance to accept defeat, Donald Trump could be pushing America to the brink of civil chaos, perhaps even civil war, proving that trust in a democratic process is only as good as the trustworthiness of its topmost individual?
The final warning from the era of Donald Trump is that nothing, not even trust, can be permanent in a democracy. Past glories should never allow believers in democracy to take the present for granted.
Collectively, the Donald Trump presidency has contained a deeper lesson, which concerns the difference between successful campaigning and successful governance. As a campaigner, Trump had correctly identified the American pulse in 2016, creating an appealing counter-narrative to the globalized, meritocratic order of the Democrats.
But as the President, in charge of governance, Trump could not produce answers to the questions he had raised himself. Far from making America “great again”, Trump plunged his nation’s democracy into chaos, inflicting fresh wounds instead of healing old ones.
Come tomorrow—and what could be the beginning of a new era for its democracy —America will do well to remember that the promise of better days, no matter how compelling, does not guarantee improvements.
Change, after all, always looks easier to realize from outside the White House than within it. It is time we welcomed the change!
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